Project Status

Project Type:  Rainwater Catchment

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 590 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/22/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Nzeluni Girls Secondary School was started by the Africa Inland Church in 1978. It has grown through support from the government, local community leaders, the Mwingi West constituency development fund, and the Kitui County government.

The school is a girls' boarding secondary school with a high population and, consequently, high water demands. The 590 students here depend on a community borehole that cannot meet the water needs of a school population their size. The borehole is also prone to breakdowns and vandalism cases, both of which force the school to purchase water from water selling carts and trucks. Water vendors here keep their prices high, making this an expensive commodity. Money and time that could be spent improving the school and on academics are being wasted on water.

"Our school is a girls' school, and the water need is very high. Our main water source is currently unable to comfortably supply us with water, which has necessitated a rationing plan," said Principal Lucy Mwenda.

And since the well is not on the school grounds, time is wasted traveling from school each day to fetch water. Students are provided with 5 liters of water per day for all their water needs - far less than the United Nations standard of 25 liters a day per person. The girls must choose how to use their water each day, often sacrificing showering or cleaning their clothes on some days just to have enough water to drink.

"I have never been provided with enough water while in school. This has really compromised my basic hygiene and sanitation standards to save on the little available water. There are cases of water theft among students because of the lack of enough water supply," explained student Winnie.

A rainwater tank would help address the school's water challenges by providing more water to the school population.

Rain Tank

We will build a 104,000-liter rain tank for this school, making the others look tiny in comparison. Because of how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya, this tank's large volume is designed to store as much water as possible during the seasonal rains, making more water available through the dry months. This water will benefit the students, teachers, and supplementary staff.

Parents will mobilize the materials needed for construction, including sand, stones, and water. They will also lend their strength and time to help with the construction. We will complement their materials with a skilled artisan to lead the project and provide the tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.

As soon as the tank has time to cure, it can begin collecting rainwater for the school's use.


We will train students and staff on sanitation, hygiene, and other topics for one day. Those in attendance will form a school health club that will promote good hygiene and sanitation practices at school and home. They will learn all of the steps to proper handwashing, how to treat water, and how to keep their environment clean. The school will also be taught how to oversee best and maintain their new rain tank and handwashing stations.

Handwashing Stations

A total of 3 handwashing stations will be installed upon the project’s completion and before training. These are 1,000-liter plastic tanks fitted with 3 taps each, allowing 9 students to wash their hands at once. The student health club and school management will be responsible for making sure the tanks are filled with water and that a cleaning agent such as soap or ash is always available.

Project Updates

August, 2021: Nzeluni Girls Secondary School Project Complete!

Nzeluni Girls Secondary School in Kenya now has access to a new source of safe, clean water thanks to the completion of their rain tank, which can collect 104,000 liters of water.

In addition, we installed handwashing stations, and we trained students and staff on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. These components work together to unlock the opportunity for these students to live better, healthier lives.

"Proper hygiene is very important, and accessibility to water from this waterpoint will come in handy," said Eliza L., a student at Nzeluni. "We will be able to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and our performance in subjects such as Agriculture, will improve because water is readily available."

When asked what the new water tank will aid her in achieving, Eliza added: "It will help me improve my grades since I will not be easily affected by diseases caused by water scarcity or poor hygiene."

Students aren't the only ones excited about the new tank. Erastus Mulwa, a school staff member, said: "This water point will be important to us (students, teachers, and staff) since we will have enough space for water storage within the school. There will be enough water to drink and clean."

"It will also enhance food security since we can plant fruit trees," Erastus continued. "Hygiene will improve since we can clean hands regularly, which, in turn, reduces the spread of diseases."

Rain Tank Construction Process

First, we held a meeting with all parents and the school Head Teacher to plan the project. The parents agreed to collect construction materials like sand, rocks, and water. We would complement their materials by delivering the expertise, tools, lumber, metal, cement, and gutter system.

This tank is a whopping 104,000 liters because of a large student population and how rarely it rains in Southeastern Kenya. Therefore, the more water the tank can store during the seasonal rains, the more water will be available through the dry months for the students.

Construction for this large rain tank is much like the construction of a concrete house. First, we leveled the ground for foundation excavation. Next, we laid alternating layers of impermeable rocks and mortar up to 7 feet high, with internal and external diameters of 25 and 28 feet, respectively.

We built a reinforced concrete column right up to the tank’s center, which holds up the roof and prevents it from caving in. We then plastered the walls both internally and externally with waterproof cement. After that, we installed several feet of guttering and channeled them into the tank. Finally, we installed the roofing, made of iron sheets and timber with vents to allow rainwater into the tank from the gutters.

School leadership is armed with the technical skills to ensure that the water tank remains functional, and together we will identify gaps through our ongoing monitoring visits.

Handwashing Stations

We delivered three new handwashing stations in time for training to be used for handwashing demonstrations. Each of these new stations has three taps so that nine students can wash their hands simultaneously.

New Knowledge

We trained on a variety of health, hygiene, and sanitation topics. These included student health club activities, disease transmission and prevention, personal hygiene, handwashing, water hygiene, food hygiene, latrine hygiene, and soapmaking.

All of the students of Nzeluni were able to attend the training. The school's two teachers were also present, so they will be able to reinforce what was taught.

First, we demonstrated handwashing. Students were then asked to volunteer to try it out, so one student (a member of the health club) volunteered. When washing her hands, the other students noticed that she did not follow the right procedure. The student started the procedure over again, and she did it right. All the other students cheered and congratulated her.

"The training was good. Some of us had lowered our standards of hygiene," Eliza said. "This motivated us to improve hygiene practices, which ultimately prevents the spread of COVID-19. We can also share that knowledge with other people at home in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19."

The newly elected president of the health club, Sifa G., felt empowered with some new knowledge on her side. "We feel relieved now that whatever we face has been addressed, and we've been given solutions to the challenges."

Sifa continued: "Being in a girls' boarding school, it is very important that we manage high standards of hygiene so that we can prevent disease outbreaks. The knowledge gained from soap making will also help us to always wash our hands with soap and also help in raising money back at home to meet basic needs."

"The formation of the health club will be of great importance because together with the two teachers; our matrons, we will ensure that hygiene standards are well maintained."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2021: Nzeluni Girls Secondary School project underway!

Dirty and unreliable water is making students in Nzeluni Girls Secondary School sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this school through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

Project Photos

Project Type

For a rainwater collection system, we build gutters around a building with good, clean roofing to channel rain where we want it. From there, the water falls through a filtered inlet pipe into a high-capacity storage tank, the size of which is based on population and average rainfall patterns. In the tank, water can be stored for months, where it is easily treated and accessed. Learn more here!

A Year Later: Clean Classrooms and More Time!

September, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Nzeluni Girls Secondary School in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Jessica. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Nzeluni Girls Secondary School.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzeluni Girls Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Water scarcity at Nzeluni Girls Secondary School used to be a daily struggle before a rain tank was installed last year.

"The rampant water scarcity within the school caused a lot of issues. For instance, meals sometimes could delay, and conducting personal hygiene was onerous because there was no water in the school," said 17-year-old Jessica N. "Our classrooms were rarely cleaned, making learning uncomfortable. Water from the borehole was salty and led to skin damage when washing our garments."

But since the rain tank was installed, the water situation has improved for students like Jessica.

"I now spend less time looking for water because the water point is nearby and offers a steady supply of water even during the dry months. Agriculture students can easily irrigate their crops, and we manage to clean our classrooms and latrines regularly," said Jessica.

"Proper hygiene and sanitation within the school, as well as clean and easily accessible water, has led to a conducive learning environment. I get more time to play with my friends and study, leading to improved academic performance."

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzeluni Girls Secondary School maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Nzeluni Girls Secondary School – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Sponsor - StossWater